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Opinions of Thursday, 9 June 2011

Columnist: Karikari, Isaac

Homosexuality in Ghana: Senior High Schools - The Real Hotspots?

By Isaac Karikari (

Homosexuality appears to have become the latest plague our society has to deal with. The undeniable fact is that there are gays and lesbians in Ghana. There are also some bisexuals (that is those who engage in sexual acts with people of the same gender as well as people of the opposite gender). I, however, cannot say if there are any Ghanaian transsexuals (people who have done surgical operations to change their gender, i.e either from male to female, female to male).

Under the frame of human and civil rights, advocacy for homosexuality and lesbianism is quickly gaining grounds. And through what may be described as notoriety, striving for legitimacy. This has sparked debates in several quarters.

I, however, wonder why it has taken us this long to begin to speak about the issue of homosexuality more openly. Especially considering that it is not a new phenomenon.

When did homosexuality and lesbianism become known in Ghana?

As I have already noted above this is certainly not a new phenomenon. Preceding the arrest of John Macleod, a British national in 2007 for homosexual acts with a nineteen year old Ghanaian teenager1, there had been similar reports in the mid/late 90s by newspapers such as P&P. In that instance too it was news of a foreign national sodomizing Ghanaian boys who were much younger. It will however be inaccurate to conclude that these marked the beginning of homosexuality in Ghana. I wonder if reference can be made to any one particular occasion or period.

That leaves us to wonder when this really started and how it started. Nevertheless, it is common knowledge that in senior secondary schools, though not tolerated and often sanctioned severely, such acts were and are still common albeit clandestinely. Historically, it is students who have been noted for this. Thus making the case involving the math tutor in Adisadel 2a new trend, so to speak. Primarily, I write of the situation as it pertains to students. Gay and lesbian activities in senior high schools may even merit being classified as “ancient customs”. I will even dare to say that second cycle schools have been major hubs for gay and lesbian acts. Senior high schools have been the real hot spots for gay and lesbian activities. It is in those places that gays and lesbians are really made. Underground gay and lesbian cells exist in many senior high schools.

In 2003, in one senior high school in the Ashanti region, it got a point where the headmistress of a first cycle institution had to come and “deliver a message from God” regarding the increase in gay activity in that senior high school. In various senior high schools across the nation students have “special” terms and jargons for gay and lesbian acts. The very common ones are “homo” for gays; and “lesby”/”lesbo” and “supi” for lesbians. Another term which is relatively new is “batty” or “batty buay/bwoy” (these are originally Jamaican terms for gays). There are other gay and lesbian jargons, like “ashetu”, “lottosa” and “muski” (a variation of it is “mooski”) and lesbobo, which are peculiar to certain schools. Others include phrases and terms such as “four legs on one bed.” In some schools the term that is used determines the nature of the homosexual or lesbian relationship or act. For instance whereas “lesbo” denotes a “serious” lesbian relationship, “dearism” is used for “lighter” or less serious relationships. One might also hear expressions such as “other’s dear” which is how lesbian partners may refer to each other.

There have even been incidents of students been raped on some campuses by gay students. However, in addressing such cases school authorities have often resorted to handling them as domestic rather than criminal matters. In some cases in a bid to resolve the issue the act is blamed on the influence of evil spirits.

A lot of young people get propositioned, and in some cases coerced into these acts but they find it difficult informing school authorities and their parents. We appear to be diverting all our attention to the Western region. However, if we really consider homosexuality to be a problem then of utmost importance are our senior high schools.


1 - Topping, A. (2007, November 7). Briton charged over gay sex in Ghana. The Guardian. Retrieved from

2 - Joy News (2011, May 28). Police arrest alleged gay teacher of Adisadel College. Myjoyonline. Retrieved from